Egypt's controversial supply minister faces new attacks in parliament

Gamal Essam El-Din , Monday 9 Dec 2019

MPs said Ali Moselhi's recent statement on subsidies is an insult to the public.

Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Ali Moselhi (Al-Ahram)
Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Ali Moselhi (Al-Ahram)

Egypt's parliament renewed attacks against the government of Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly for the second day in a row. On Monday, MPs singled out supply minister Ali Moselhi, accusing him of issuing non-politicised statements and directing insults to the Egyptian people.

MP Emad Mahrous said in a public rally in Menoufiya governorate last week that Moselhi took the audience by surprise when he lamented that "even though citizens take a lot of subsidies, they show dissatisfaction rather than express gratitude." 

"This is a statement which largely lacks any common sense and it is not the first time this minister issued an insulting remark against the people," said Mahrous.

"For this reason I think it is high time for Moselhi to be dismissed from his post," said Mahrous.

Moselhi's decision in September to strip 1.8 million citizens of their ration cards caused heated controversy. President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Prime minister Mostafa Madbouly intervened to contain the damage caused by Moselhi's decision, assuring that the majority of citizens who filed appeals will be re-listed on ration and subsidy cards.

The supply minister also told a TV talk show in October that the majority of people who receive subsidised commodities should be stripped of having ration cards because they have high incomes. In response, MPs described Moselhi's comments as "disrespectful", asking President El-Sisi to dismiss him.

There have been many reports in recent weeks that a cabinet reshuffle is imminent and that Moselhi will be on top of the list of replacements.

Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal said subsidised items people receive are their right according to the constitution and relevant laws. "We reject any kind of insults which a state official may direct at citizens," he said.

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